, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 621-630
Date: 27 Mar 2012

Association of dietary sodium intake and blood pressure in the German population

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The present study investigated the association of dietary sodium intake and blood pressure (BP) based on existing data from the German National Health Interview and Examination Survey (GNHIES) and the associated German Nutrition Survey (GeNuS).

Subject and methods

After exclusion of participants with known hypertension and/or anti-hypertensive medication use, complete data of the GeNuS subsample of the 1998 GNHIES were analysed for 1,539 men and 1,553 women aged 18–79 years. The survey included a health and lifestyle questionnaire, a medical examination and a comprehensive diet history interview. Sodium density (g/1,000 kcal) was examined in quartiles of systolic and diastolic BP (SBP and DBP). Multiple linear regression models were used to investigate associations of sodium density and SBP or DBP. Adjustments were made for sex, age and socio- and health-behavioral risk factors previously found to be related to BP in univariate analysis.


Participants with a high SBP and DBP (fourth quartile of SBP: ≥ 142 mmHg in men; ≥ 139 mmHg in women) had a significantly higher dietary sodium intake than individuals with a lower BP. In the multiple models, both SBP and DBP were significantly associated with sodium density when adjusted for other factors such as sex, age, body mass index and alcohol consumption.


An association of dietary sodium intake and BP in the German population could be found. Further research using sodium data collected via 24-h urine samples is urgently needed for evidence-based public health policy reducing risk of BP associated morbidities and mortalities in Germany.